Are you ready to see a followup to the micro-budgeted, "found footage" supernatural horror tale that turned a tidy profit at the box office last year? One that hopefully expands upon and explores the aftermath of its predecessor's shocking ending? Well, the bad news is that Paranormal Activity 3 might not go that route.
However, a true sequel is being planned to the OTHER title that fits the above description: The Last Exorcism.
Heat Vision has learned that Studio Canal is funding a followup to The Last Exorcism, which grossed just under $63 million worldwide, on a $1.6 million budget. A sequel has been all but a given, simply because of the first film's huge profit margin.
Damien Chazelle (the musical indie drama Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench) will be taking over scripting duties from Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland on the Last Exorcism sequel. There is no word yet if director Daniel Stamm or producer Eli Roth will be involved with the project.
To refresh your memory: The Last Exorcism is a pseduo-documentary that revolves around Evangelical preacher Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian), a man who's lost his faith, yet still performs faux exorcisms in order to make a decent living. He invites a documentary crew to record the last exorcism (hence the title) that he plans to perform - one where he intends to demonstrate, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he is a fraud and these "possessed" individuals are, in fact, just extremely psychologically disturbed. However, the strange case of a young woman named Nell (Ashley Bell) forces Cotton to truly decide what he believes in.
Last Exorcism was praised for taking an unconventional and intelligent approach to the subject of demonic possession and examining the sometimes fine line between scientifically-based reasoning and religious faith - at least, in the first 2/3rds of the film, that is.
To say the ending of Last Exorcism was fairly divisive would be putting it mildly; even the director and his production crew have different opinions about what exactly the correct interpretation of the film's final 10 minutes is. Some consider the conclusion to be in keeping with the ambiguous tone of the rest of the film, while others see it as a confused and disappointing attempt to deliver some last-minute scares. So, all in all, there should be a fair amount of interest in seeing where exactly the sequel will go, following the events of its predecessor.
One only hopes that Chazelle goes the route of Paranormal Activity 2 with his Last Exorcism sequel script - namely, by expounding and fleshing out the mythology of the first film, rather than merely cashing it on its popularity. Put bluntly, we don't need another Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2.
Production on The Last Exorcism sequel is slated to begin with fall, so expect to learn more about the project in the near future.